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11th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly: Aggression Against Ukraine

SPEECH DELIVERED:
2 March 2022
UN Headquarters, New York

The International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) made a statement during the 11th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly, which was convened from 28 February – 2 March 2022 at the United Nations after a failure of the UN Security Council to pass resolution S/2022/155 to condemn the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation. This Special Session was one of the eleven meetings held under the resolution 377 A (V), entitled “Uniting for Peace,” since the founding of the United Nations in 1945.

 

The representative of International IDEA, Amanda Sourek, delivered the following statement
from the UN General Assembly floor on behalf of Secretary-General Kevin Casas-Zamora

 

Excellencies,

 

International IDEA strongly condemns the unprovoked war of aggression waged by the Russian Federation with the involvement of Belarus against Ukraine, a sovereign nation and a democracy. This is in breach of international law and international agreements and the rules-based international order that underpins the shared objective of global peace and the existence of organizations such as International IDEA.

The invasion ordered by the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, is a blatant violation of the UN Charter. As firm believers in the right of peoples to exercise their fundamental rights and freedoms, we convey our full support to and solidarity with the people of Ukraine. They are innocent victims of this aggression. We salute the brave partners and democracy activists with whom International IDEA has engaged in recent years when Ukraine made huge progress towards being a stable and thriving democracy. We call on the international community to spring into action to protect them and mitigate the humanitarian consequences of the invasion. 

We cannot fail to note that the military operation was launched while the UN Security Council was meeting to discuss the crisis. We reiterate our firm belief that international crises should be addressed through the means of multilateral diplomacy and resolved on the basis of the principles of the Charter. It is particularly unfortunate that this naked rejection of these principles happens during a pandemic that has rendered evident the need for increased global cooperation to make the world governable and achieve justice for all.

In these days we are witnessing what an unchecked ruler, for decades trampling fundamental rights and freedoms of his own citizens, can do to undermine peace and democracy beyond his own borders. Ukraine is a country that has successfully reached democratic standards over the past two decades, from respecting media freedoms to free and fair elections, local democracy and the fight against corruption. It is no wonder President Putin is scared of such democratic vibrancy at his doorstep.

This is a pivotal moment for democrats all over the world to stand united in support of Ukraine. It is also the moment to reinforce action to counter and to prevent the rise of authoritarian regimes elsewhere, which cannot survive without kleptocracy and the systematic violation of human rights and freedoms. 

We call on Russia to immediately withdraw its military forces and fully respect Ukraine’s sovereignty. Revanchist interpretations of history and attempts to change borders based on ethno-nationalist fantasies offer not a luminous path for humanity, but a route towards darkness and endless cycles of violence. They certainly don’t provide any hope to the young and unborn generations that will bear the brunt of the climate crisis, or to the billions of vulnerable people around the world that are yet to realize the promise of a life free from fear and want and the promises of the Agenda 2030. Those are the real challenges of our age.

We encourage the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, to make use of his good offices to advance ceasefire talks, humanitarian access to the war-affected areas and protection of civilians and particularly the most vulnerable ones. We urge UN Member States to adopt and enforce sanctions against the Russian Federation until withdrawal of their forces from Ukraine and the full restoration of its territorial integrity. We urge UN Member States to do whatever it takes, in compliance with the principles of the UN Charter, to stop this war and prevent any further escalation of the conflict.

International IDEA will do its part, in collaboration with the United Nations, our Member States and other democratic governments and organizations, to protect, in Ukraine and elsewhere, the principle that every country has a right to freely determine its own fate on the basis of the will of the people, freely expressed. Democracy’s institutions and processes are the best means to protect that right. Today we must stand up for these principles. Today we must stand up for Ukraine, which embodies these principles and defends them to our great respect.

 

Dyakuyu. Thank you.

 

The full video of this statement can be seen here:  11th Emergency Special Session of the General Assembly  

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About the Speaker

Outreach and Operations Officer
Amanda Sourek

Amanda Sourek joined International IDEA in June 2018. She is the Outreach and Operations Officer for the North America Programme. Her responsibility is to give full support to the Head of North America and Outreach Analysis, and to the Permanent Observer to the United Nations.